Paul Young principal teacher St Thomas Aquinas Secondary, Glasgow

23rd June 2006 at 01:00
Being head of department is a huge difference. I look after technical education, enterprise, work experience, college links and a learning centre for pupils who are disaffected.

Paperwork is a big challenge. I come in at 7.30am and can still be here at 7pm. I try not to do the paperwork during the day, so that I'm still effective as a teacher.

It is good to see pupils coming back in the third year - and getting good exam results - because it means you are doing something right.

There is always the thought of inspections in the background. You need policies and documentation and to make sure staff are adhering to them and producing paperwork.

I have had a lot support from my line manager and other principal teachers.

We have had some good CPD on developing excellent PTs - that was very useful - and we're going to try to keep it going with PT meetings to support each other and talk about what's happening in school.

Managing staff with very different interests, ambitions and levels of experience can be challenging, but pulling all that together and working as a team is satisfying.

My advice to other new PTs would be to get on with it and don't worry about making mistakes, because you're bound to. There is always support available, from senior management or other PTs, so use it. And try not to work 12-hour days, because you need to stay fresh in this job.

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